A look behind the scenes of Rep. Patsy Keever's successful Democratic primary campaign in the 10th Congressional District sheds new light on how she was able to triumph over her main rival, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.
Despite Bellamy's head start and fundraising advantages (which led some commenters to dub her "the frontrunner"), Keever garnered 58 percent of the vote to Bellamy's 27 percent. Rutherfordton resident and political newcomer Timothy Murphy received almost 16 percent of the total. Keever's margin was even bigger in her home turf of Buncombe County, where she got about 67 percent of the vote to Bellamy's 28 percent and Murphy's 5 percent.
Among some observers, the results have raised doubts over Bellamy's political career. Meanwhile, the Keever campaign credits the strength of its candidate, as well as smart strategy – two things it's eager to highlight as it gears up to try to unseat powerful Republican incumbent Patrick McHenry in the fall.
According to an internal Keever campaign memo that was recently shared with Xpress, her campaign commissioned a poll in February that provided essential data about the newly formed district and how best to proceed. Before the campaign even kicked into gear, the team learned from polling information that Keever led Bellamy by more than 2 to 1 in Buncombe County and that she would likely get a minimum of 55 to 60 percent of the primary vote here. The poll also showed that both candidates were relatively unknown in the other counties in the district, which was redrawn last year to include most of Asheville for the first time.
That allowed the campaign to focus all of its resources on reaching out to other parts of the district, which stretches southeast from Asheville all the way to Gaston County. Meanwhile, Bellamy had to spend valuable campaign resources on trying to rally voters closer to home.
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